(MSDWC) The 99th Entity

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posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:06 AM
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The narrow, descending mountain trail had become a sadist, reveling in the torture it inflicted on Cory Vaquera’s blistered feet and aching knees, or so it seemed. The rest of his joints hadn’t fared well either, but what else can a three-hundred-and-twenty pound man expect after such a hike? The dead weight of the bulky, black Sony camcorder hanging from a sling on his shoulder only added to the burden. At least his tattered, green daypack had held up - though his lunch, consisting of a foot-long turkey sub, Twinkies, and Gatorade, had been consumed hours ago.

God he was hungry!

Cory brushed the long, black strands of sweat soaked hair away from his eyes. Even at five-thirty in the afternoon the temperature held above ninety, and the humidity was getting even worse, causing the fabric of his gray shorts and tan, cotton t-shirt to cling to his damp skin. Stupid, the whole idea was just stupid, and to think he’d skipped work to do it! Now he’d probably get fired, this being the fourth time in a month he’d called in sick from his telemarketing gig, just to prove a bunch of skeptics wrong.

He shifted the camcorder to his other shoulder, his chest heaving with labored breaths as he trudged along the dirty, dusty trail. The dense, redwood forest loomed around him, blotting out the rays of the setting sun. Nightfall was approaching, but Cory recognized the bubbling sound of the stream up ahead; the plywood bridge that crossed it was only minutes away. Beyond that lay the parking lot and his used Volvo. Cory cursed himself; he could’ve been back hours ago, if only he hadn’t been so stubborn - if only it hadn’t been so stubborn. Stupid drone!

Had he been wrong to assume it would appear again? He’d seen the damned thing yesterday, if only for a few seconds, buzzing overhead like some weird, alien kite. Today he’d returned fully prepared, camcorder at the ready, and what had his efforts gotten him? Nothing! Maybe he should have spent the afternoon back at the campsite, where he’d seen it before, but hiking to the top of Mt. Tamalpais had seemed like a better idea, given the miles of visibility the vantage point provided.

Oh how he’d wanted to capture the drone on film, to prove them wrong! A clever hoax, they’d called it, but Cory had never believed it was the work of some Photoshop prankster. That thing was real, and yesterday he’d seen it with his own two eyes. But that was yesterday; tonight he’d be returning home tired, hungry and un-employed.

Stupid, stupid drone!

Upon reaching the bridge, Cory leaned against the sturdy railing to rest his bulky frame. He let the camcorder slide down his arm onto the wooden planks, and then allowed his daypack to do the same, before sinking down to a sitting position, his leg muscles burning from exhaustion. Scattered rays of orange sunlight shone through the redwood branches, illuminating the moss-covered logs and boulders that lined the stream below. He unzipped the daypack and pulled forth the bottle of Gatorade – about an ounce of the yellow liquid remained, sloshing around inside. Before Cory could bring the mouth of the bottle to his lips, he found himself swatting at what sounded like an insect buzzing about his head. What was it, a fly? A bee, perhaps? He couldn’t see the damn thing, and then it dawned on him what was making the humming noise. It was the drone!

With trembling hands he snatched the camera, removed the lens cap, and pressed RECORD. Peering through the eyepiece, he directed the camera upward, focusing through the tree limbs overhead. The seven-foot-long winged drone was just like in the pictures - he could even make out the bizarre, cryptic lettering underneath: characters that looked as if they belonged to some strange, alien alphabet.

“Yes! Yes!” Cory chuckled with glee, “Come to Papa!” Just as he zoomed in on the odd lettering, the drone shifted direction and zipped beyond the tree-line, out of view. “No, not yet!” He scrambled to his feet, hefted the camcorder onto his shoulder, and briefly took note of his daypack which lay on the bridge. “Screw it” he said, and bolted back down the trail after the drone, leaving the pack behind.

“My name is Cory Vaquera!” he panted into the camera’s microphone. “Today is August 31st., 2007, and I’m at Mt. Tamalpais State Park.” Cory knew he probably didn’t need say all that – the camera’s date stamp function would show up in the recording, but he felt the need to at least say something at this fantastic, historic moment. A bit of narrative wouldn’t hurt – after all, he’d be famous after this. The weird, white craft skittered among the treetops ahead, just out of reach.

Within a few minutes, Cory’s aching legs forced him to walk, and then to stop altogether. His heart galloped in his chest, and his lungs felt as if they would explode at any moment. He broke into a series of brutal coughs as the drone slowly reversed direction, hovered overhead, and then zipped away once again beyond the treetops. “Oh, no you don’t!” Cory gasped, and pushed onward.

Though his weary muscles protested the unwelcome exertion, his spirit soared with satisfaction and pride. The brief footage he’d already captured would, by itself, land him an interview on the evening news, and if he could manage to get just a little more...hell, he’d probably be chatting with Larry King by the end of the week. Maybe some big-time producer would even do a movie about it! Cory tried to image which actor they’d pick to play him. Leonardo DeCaprio? No, much too young. How about Antonio Banderas, or Vin Diesel? Yeah, definitely Vin Diesel.

He staggered after the drone for half a mile, until sheer exhaustion brought him to a stop once again. “Must...take...a break.” He fell backward onto the cool, moist dirt of the trail and lay there, recovering from the chase. Maybe it’s time to go back on those diet milkshakes, he thought. It wouldn’t hurt to lose a few pounds. A big grin spread across his face. So what if his boss fired him? The rights to his footage would be worth millions. Besides, he’d be too busy for work now anyway, with all the autographs he’d be signing.

As he lay on the trail, the sunlight gradually faded away, and the temperature began to drop. A thick fog began to settle over the forest. Cory sat up, taking in the static stillness of his environment, the eerie silence. A chill ran up his spine. He’d spent nearly the entire day in patient solitude, waiting for the drone, but for some reason he’d never felt alone...until now. Cory sighed. He rose to his feet, picked up the camera, and started back down the trail in the direction of the bridge. He’d come back tomorrow, after converting the videotape to digital and uploading it to the website for all to see.

A few minutes later, Cory stopped. The buzzing sound had returned, only louder this time, hidden within the darkness and fog. He’d thought to bring a flashlight, but had left it inside his daypack, back at the bridge. No problem. He switched on the camcorder light. Cory swept the camera about, directing the brilliant yellow beam in all directions. “Dammit!” he cursed as the light winked out. He shook the camera and knocked his palm against it repeatedly, until he noticed that entire device had stopped working, not just the lamp.

Cory held still amid the fog, listening to the incessant humming noise coming from the drone somewhere in the mist. As it grew louder, the air around him began to buzz with an electric charge, making his skin tingle. For the first time he noticed the pounding in his chest and the thundering beat of his own heart, now filled with dread. Something wasn’t right.

Suddenly, Cory stumbled and fell backward, startled by the harsh, deafening blare of a siren. He covered his ears with his hands in an effort to dampen the intense noise. Where in God’s name was it coming from? With the camcorder still slung around his shoulder, he turned and scampered back up the trail, away from the awful sound, screaming in terror.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *


Biting his lip, U.S. Army Major Giovanni Lopez gazed through the canopy of the specially-outfitted AH-6 reconnaissance helicopter, taking note of the dark, gray blanket of fog that hung below. As night fell over the mountainside, visual identification of the target was becoming impossible, so he and his men would have to rely on the Forward Looking Infrared(FLIR) system installed in both his helicopter and the UH-60 Blackhawk trailing close behind. That was assuming the target hadn’t already left the area, and if that was the case, he could kiss his anticipated promotion, maybe even his career, goodbye.

“Looks like we’ve got a hit, Sir,” said the pilot, Army First Lieutenant Henry Weinberg. He pointed to the monitor. “I could take us down into the fog bank for a visual, but we’d be exceeding visibility requirements. It would make up for lost time, though.”

Lopez studied the chalky white figure that shone on the FLIR display. It appeared to be a man, and a stocky one at that, running parallel to the mountainside in the direction of the beach. “No,” he said. “The signature looks human, and it’s the only one within three kilometers of where the drone signaled the breach. He’s definitely the one.”

Entity behavior never varied, and Lopez knew it would seek out the closest available host within minutes. It could do this only once. He keyed the microphone on his headset, opening a channel to the Blackhawk. “Yankee Two, your orders are to land on the beach and capture the host when he arrives. We’ll maintain altitude and relay target position as he appears on infrared.”

“Roger, Yankee One. Yankee Two is descending.” With that, the olive-colored, unmarked Blackhawk broke formation and disappeared into the fog. Lopez reached forward and unfastened the bracketed laptop computer on the center console, allowing it to swing forward. Tonight’s situation had developed quickly; intel was sparse, and Lopez wanted to know what he’d be dealing with. His fingers rapidly keyed in a request to headquarters for more information. Then he clicked the transmit icon on the screen, sending the encrypted message on its way.

“What about the Orpheus reconnaissance drone, Major?” Lt. Weinberg inquired. “Can’t we have CARET redirect it, have it follow the target?”

“That’s not their job.” Lopez replied. Being subject to full disclosure, he knew that CARET would have their hands full monitoring the other ninety-seven known demonic entities. By now, the escape of even one spook would’ve incited the rest into frenzy, and only the Orpheus drone possessed the unique capability of existing within both Hades, and the human world, at the same time. Lopez didn’t fully understand the technology that made it possible – something to do with ancient runes and their mystical properties – and he didn’t need to. All he needed to understand was the nature of his assignment: simply put, he was to wait until the entity completed its possession, and then capture the host.

Or kill him, if need be.

(Cont. below)


[edit on 18-8-2007 by Flatwoods]




posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:07 AM
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By the time the hard-packed dirt of the trail gave way to the loose, moist sand of Stinson Beach, Cory had run an incredible distance nearly two-and-half miles, a feat made possible by the energy of pure adrenaline, of fear. He came to a stop amid the coolness of the nighttime fog, only then realizing that the terrible wail of the siren was no longer behind him. As the steady crashing of the ocean waves began to soothe his frayed nerves, he leaned forward to place his hands on his knees, catching his breath.

A sudden, thundering roar made him flinch and look about, until he realized the sound came from a helicopter passing overhead. He leaned forward again, this time laughing. What a chicken he’d been! Cory cast his eyes about his surroundings, searching for a signpost or trail marker, but the murkiness of the fog concealed all but the sand below his feet. What was he going to do now? Retracing his steps through the forest in the dark didn’t seem like an attractive option. Maybe he should spend the night on the beach. Then again, huddling in the frigid night dressed only in his sweat-soaked t-shirt and shorts didn’t sound like much fun either.

A set of flashing red and yellow landing lights accompanied the growing noise of the helicopter, and Cory noticed the craft was setting down on the beach, about a hundred yards away. A hurricane of wind-blown sand formed under the wash of the rotor blades as several dark-fatigued silhouettes jumped out of the cabin. That’s strange, Cory thought. He began step toward them, wondering what the all the commotion was about. Then he stopped, noticing the figures were brandishing automatic weapons.

From somewhere in the darkness came a long, slow, blood-curdling howl, like that of a wounded animal crying into the night. Cory didn’t like that sound, not one bit. His skin detected a slight change in the air - a gentle, cold, malevolent breeze against his neck.

Cory spun around, his eyes opening wide with horror.


* * * * * * * * *


Three hundred feet above, inside the AH-6 helicopter, Major Lopez eyed the FLIR display, keeping a close eye on the seven white silhouettes - six of them representing his assault team, and the seventh representing their target. As he did so, the target’s signature faded to black. Lopez frowned, as this meant one of two things; either the target had moved out of range, or the entity had taken it. In either case, time was of the essence, so Lopez opened a channel to the team leader. “Razor Team, I want a status report. What’s going on down there?”

A burst of static followed, and then Sergeant Li’s voice sounded into the earpiece, “Visual identification negative. If he was here, he’s flown the coop. Should we keep looking or head out? Over.” Lopez gazed at the fog below, and grimaced. This was bad. He keyed the microphone again, preparing to issue orders for a wide-perimeter sweep, but the screen of the laptop computer suddenly lit up in bright orange, indicating a message from headquarters had been received.

Lopez scrolled through the top-secret intelligence data regarding the entity, and let out a gasp. “My Lord,” he whispered, and radioed the Razor Team leader. “Wide perimeter search!” he shouted into the microphone. “Neutralize target on sight! I repeat, NEUTRALIZE THE TARGET ON SIGHT!”

Silence followed, and then another voice, “Yankee One, this Corporal Fuller. Sergeant Li is dead – his face is smashed in. No sign of the target, wait...we’ve found something. It looks like a broken camcorder. Sergeant Li must’ve been hit with it. Over.”

“Say again, Fuller?” Lopez asked. His question was answered by a terrible scream, and then silence. “Dammit!” he shouted, and then turned to Lt. Weinberg, “Take us lower, now!” One by one, the heat signatures on the FLIR display stopped moving. As the AH-6 descended into the haze, Lopez tried contacting Yankee Two, and got no answer from them either. Lopez had a sinking feeling that the entire team was now dead.

He took hold of a small joystick on the control panel in front of him and flipped a switch on the side, activating the six-million-candlepower “Night Sun” spotlight mounted underneath the helicopter. The AH-6 banked to the left as Lopez swept the beam across the beach. Lifeless bodies lay sprawled on the sand, illuminated by the beam. The UH-60 Blackhawk was there as well, motionless except for the still-turning rotor blades. As Lopez directed the beam back and forth, searching for the target, he heard a voice come over the radio – one he didn’t recognize. The tone was low and guttural, the words of a language he’d never heard before.

“There he is,” said Lt. Weinberg, pointing to the circle of light formed by the spotlight beam. Lopez leaned forward, trying to make out the target. Within the light stood a huge man dressed in grey shorts and a tan t-shirt, sporting an earpiece and voice mike belonging to one of Lopez’s men. His hands held an M249 machine gun.

“Get us out of...” Lopez never finished his sentence. The canopy on the pilot’s side of the AH-6 exploded inward, sending fragments of Plexiglas flying about the cockpit. Lopez felt himself bathed in a warm liquid; his flight suit was drenched with Weinberg’s blood. Flipping his own blood-smeared helmet visor upward, Lopez glanced downward at the man on the beach. Fire continued to burst forth from the muzzle of M249, sending more bullets crashing into the helicopter.

The aircraft pitched downward, spiraling out of control, as the menacing, cryptic words of the demon continued to chant through Lopez’s earphones. He gripped the control stick and pulled with all his might, the rolling surf looming ever closer. Seconds before impact, the AH-6 leveled out, and then began to climb into the night sky. Ocean waves crested below as Lopez opened a new channel, this one directed to the C-130 Hercules flying thirty kilometers to the west. “This is Yankee One calling Chalice. Operation Big Buster is a go. I repeat, Operation Big Buster is go.”

“Roger that, Yankee One. ETA ten minutes.” A cold, salty ocean wind blew through the shattered canopy as Lopez gazed upon Lt. Weinberg’s bloody remains. Ten minutes, he thought to himself. Ten minutes to go before we send that bastard back into Hell.

(Cont. below)




[edit on 18-8-2007 by Flatwoods]



posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:09 AM
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The 21,000 lb. Massive Ordinance Air Blast(MOAB) ripped the night sky above Stinson Beach in two, searing the surrounding landscape like an atom bomb. Windows throughout the city of San Francisco rattled in the wake of the enormous shockwave, which was heard in Santa Barbara, over three hundred miles away. The resulting tremor shook the Golden Gate Bridge as well, bringing the evening traffic to a halt. Frightful motorists peered through their windshields to stare at the fiery, orange mushroom cloud rising skyward to an altitude of thirty thousand feet.

Television and radio stations sprang into action, carrying breaking news coverage of the shocking event. Speculation flourished; everything from a meteor impact to nuclear terrorism was mentioned until, just before eight o’clock p.m., the origin of the blast was announced. A liquid natural gas tanker had caught fire and exploded offshore, killing nine. One curious fact - that the crew consisted entirely of United States Army personnel - was also mentioned, but only briefly. Within the hour, people changed channels back to their favorite shows, and the bustling traffic along the bridge resumed.

None of the passing motorists noticed the overweight man dressed in gray shorts and a torn, bloody t-shirt who walked along the pedestrian causeway spanning the length of the bridge. Naberius, Lord of Demons and former Ruler of Sammuru paid no attention to the bloody cuts and welts that covered the bruised body of his host. Thorns, branches, and poison leaves had encumbered his escape up the mountainside, and his host’s unwieldy size had made the journey all the more difficult. Yet Naberius cared nothing about this, for his attention was fixed firmly ahead, toward the other side of the bridge.

The evening fog had dissipated, allowing him to see the mighty skyscrapers that loomed above the city, peppered with light. He gazed at them hungrily, for the view was not too different from what he’d seen during the final, rapturous seconds of his previous visit to this realm. He remembered it well: how the great tower had loomed in the window of the Boeing 767 cockpit, his own shouts of delight just before impact. What a glorious slaughter it had been!

The slow moan of a ship’s foghorn sounded below, drawing him to the edge of the bridge. He looked out upon the blackness of San Francisco Bay, and then down at the open wallet in his hand. Cory Vaquera, the driver’s license read. Naberius spoke the name aloud. It didn’t roll off his tongue easily like that of his former host, Mohammad Atta, but such things were trivial when compared to task that lay before him. Curling his lips upward in an evil grin, Naberius turned and continued along the walkway, toward the city lights, fantasizing about the orgy of violence he would soon commit. It was nothing short of erotic.

A figure clad in a black trench-coat stepped from the shadows, blocking his path. Naberius strained to make out the man’s features: his hair was gray, his stature unimpressive, but the demonic force within was strong and familiar. “What brings you here, Shezmu?” Naberius asked. “You’re not welcome in my presence.”

“Nor you in mine,” the demon in the trench-coat replied.

“Turn around, weakling.” Naberius ordered, leering at the demon that stood in his path. “I have business to attend to: destruction and death of a magnitude you can’t even imagine.”

Shezmu stepped closer, but remained beyond arms’ reach. “Take your gluttony somewhere else, Naberius. Ten thousand years of experience have taught me the value of caution, of respect. I take only the victims I need to remain vital, and no more than that.”

“Respect?” Naberius hissed, and then spat on the ground. “How DARE you speak to me of respect, unworthy swine! I am Naberius, Lord of Demons, and I command you to step aside!”

“Respect,” Shezmu said calmly, “is the only reason my true nature remains hidden from mankind. You still have not learned this, and so it is you who are unworthy. As for your authority; it counts for nothing in this realm. This hunting ground is mine, and mine alone. I will not let you pass.”

Naberius clenched his trembling fists, glowering with rage. “Then you will return to The Underworld, and suffer the wrath of my minions as I feast on the misery of all humanity!” With that, Naberius lunged forward. Shezmu’s 9mm semi-automatic handgun flew from the pocket of his coat; he fired three rounds into the head of his assailant, causing him to collapse onto the walkway with an audible thud.

It took considerable effort to lift the 320 lb., lifeless body over the steel railing, but Shezmu somehow managed to summon a little extra strength from the tired, aged muscles of his host. “Not in my city,” Shezmu said as the massive corpse hurtled downward, into the frigid waters of the bay.

Before leaving, he withdrew an old, weathered, but still sharp hunting knife from his pocket and carved a symbol into the red paint of the railing. The symbol – a circle drawn over two intersecting lines - belonged to him, Shezmu, the ancient Egyptian god of blood, slaughter, and wine. To humans, it symbolized cruelty and mayhem, for it was also the sign of murder - the sign of the 99th entity.

The sign of the Zodiac.






[edit on 18-8-2007 by Flatwoods]



posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:03 PM
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Great read Flatwoods, as usual.

mojo



posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:14 PM
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Excellent!! I was reading so fast just to find out what happens next. Loved it!



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 12:12 AM
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VERY cool read Flatwoods! Loved the involvement of what we get in the threads.





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